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Real-life learning the key to mastering a second language

The South China Morning Post – John Cremer

“Noting such concerns, Lai Chun, an associate professor in the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) faculty of education, points out that most second language curricula and textbooks used in international schools now pay more attention to developing learners’ “communicative functions”. However, there is still room to improve the relevance of topics to students’ daily life and interests, which is an important factor in increasing overall motivation. “The essentials for reaching near-native levels of fluency are sufficient exposure to the language and opportunities to use it in authentic contexts,” Lai says.” (more)

Dynamic assessment can help language learners have more success

Phys Org – Jim Carlson

“Altering or individualizing assessment procedures can propel second-language learners toward more successful mastery of that language, ongoing research by Penn State Associate Professor of Education Matt Poehner and his interdisciplinary team suggests. Poehner’s interdisciplinary work is centered on dynamic assessment, which seeks to identify the skills that students possess as well as their learning potential, to paint a broader picture of a person’s capabilities. Instead of assigning a student a specific task and simply watching him or her complete it, dynamic assessment entails helpful intervention when problems surface.” (more)

Connecting parents with edtech

District Administration – Mike Daugherty

“Although a majority of parents approved of the move to an online model, a subset of parents said they felt more disconnected since the initiative began. They felt out of the loop without papers and folders spilling out of their children’s backpacks. Our LMS, Google Classroom, was not as open to parents as we needed it to be. We were succeeding in changing the culture at school, but we were not doing as well at home. This was particularly apparent with students in grades 3 through 8. A team of teachers and technology professionals met to find a way to help those parents who were struggling. Communication was key.” (more)

K–12 Schools Work to Incorporate Computer Science into Curriculums

Ed Tech Magazine – Eli Zimmerman

“Forecasts report that computer science skills will be essential for the future workforce, creating a need for K–12 experts to work harder to incorporate such lessons into the curriculum. According to the App Association, there will be approximately 1 million unfilled computing jobs in 2024. Research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that number could be reached by 2020. These findings have put a fire underneath educators and K–12 organizations to refocus efforts to teach computer science skills.” (more)

Discovering the Depth in Graphic Novels

Edutopia – Jason DeHart

“In spite of their reputation for simplicity, graphic novels can display a surprising level of depth. This sense of depth can come through in a variety of ways—from the language to the interplay of words and images to the themes that can be explored in visual texts. And like novels, graphic novels employ a range of literary conventions, so they’re ripe for classroom discussion.” (more)

COLUMN: Being multilingual is more important than people think

The Indiana Daily Student – Tejus Arora

“Language is at the core of human existence. It’s the medium through which we perceive the world around us, express our perception, establish and maintain relationships and create a community. It cultivates value and a global working economy. Now imagine you knew more than one language to perceive, express, create, learn, teach and so on. Your perception of the world would widen, your avenues of information intake would increase; your personal enrichment would be unparalleled by your monolingual peers.” (more)

Women Are Superior Wordsmiths From an Early Age

The Pacific Standard – Tom Jacobs

“Much has been written about the fact boys tend to perform better than girls at math. But this focus has largely overshadowed a larger and more worrisome gender gap in an even more fundamental domain: reading and writing. A new study featuring data on more than three million American students reports girls outperform boys in reading and writing skills in fourth grade, and that gap increases over their next eight years of schooling.” (more)

Can Parks Make Kids Better at Math?

Next City – Rachel Dovey

“Kids need parks — from obesity and asthma rates to psychological indicators, research repeatedly shows that green space has a tremendous impact on children’s health. But could trees, swings and bike paths also make kids good at math?” (more)

How Genius Hour Helps Kids Connect What They’re Learning in School to Their Future Goals

Ed Surge – Jen Schneider

“Genius Hour is about learning, and for some students, it’s the first time in their academic careers that they have an opportunity to research whatever they want, ask anything and anyone whatever questions they can think of and create something without strict parameters and measures of success. I give them permission to do this open-ended work, but they also have to let themselves take a risk and put their best effort into something that isn’t traditionally done in school—something that won’t result in a letter grade or a numerical score.” (more)

Igniting students’ STEM interest begins with educating their teachers

Education Dive – Lauren Barack

“Providing quality STEM education in K-12 schools is a struggle, noted the 2016 report, “STEM 2026: A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education,” from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Yet by 2021, U.S. businesses will be looking to add about 1.6 million people — which will include 945,000 who have basic STEM skills, and 635,000 who have more advanced STEM abilities — according to the DOE’s paper. “States, districts, and schools struggle to provide all students with the STEM experiences required for the 21st century, regardless of college and career aspirations,” the report said.” (more)